After you have had an application screened and you believe you have chosen the right tenant, the next step is to have that tenant sign a lease agreement and move into the property. As with everything else related to property management, you need a process.
Manage Expectations Up Front
Communication with your tenant is very important, especially during the move-in process. You want them to know what your expectations will be throughout the tenancy. After understanding these expectations, if the tenant does not want to move forward with the lease, it’s a good thing that you had this conversation early. It may have saved you from future disputes.
We recommend that you write down all your expectations on the lease agreement. In our leases, we have a section called House Rules, where we list all our home owner’s expectations. For example, if the tenant wants to change the paint color on the walls or upgrade the counter tops to granite, they must have permission from the homeowner to do so, and then they must pay for those changes themselves. Many homeowners even leave behind their appliances for the tenants to use with the expectation that the tenant will handle the maintenance for these appliances. If the appliances were to stop working or need repair, it would be the responsibility of the tenant to fix it. All of these details need to be addressed in the lease agreement clearly to avoid confusion in the future. Setting forth your expectations and putting them in writing will help you avoid tenant conflicts.
Conducting a Move-In Home Inspection
Once you and your tenants have signed the lease and they are ready to move in, you should conduct a detailed home inspection. Make sure to take pictures and record the initial condition of the property. Be sure to check everything. Write down a detailed report of how the property looks and what condition it is in before the tenant takes over. When the report is ready, make sure the tenants read and sign it to demonstrate they are in complete agreement with what has been written about the condition of the property.
At the end of the lease agreement when the tenant is ready to move out, you will be comparing the move-out inspection report to the move-in inspection report. This way, you can see what damage, if any, has been done to the property. Having a detailed inspection report from the move-in process will allow you to cross reference it to the move-out report to see if the tenant needs to be held responsible for whatever damage you find after move-out. This will be part of your security deposit process and may impact whether you can return the deposit.
Collect All Move-In Funds
The last thing you want to do before you allow your tenants to move into the property is to collect the first month’s rent, the security deposit, and any other move-in funds such as pet deposits or fees. Then, you can hand over the keys to the property. Remember, once you hand over those keys, they are officially your tenants.
If you have any further questions regarding the process of moving in a Northridge tenant, please feel free to contact us at Core Alliance Management.